First post here:
Last Sunday morning, the sunshine felt like rain.
Week before, they all seemed the same.
With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
I still had two strong legs, and even wings to fly.
And oh I, ain’t wastin’ time no more
‘Cause time goes by like hurricanes, and faster things.
In March of 1971 the Allmans released their epochal At Fillmore East album. During the summer of that year they toured and built their audience, by October the album had gone gold and by the end of October, Duane Allman – too fast to live – had died in a motorcycle accident. (I saw the Allmans with Duane in July and then at their first re-appearance in New York at Carnegie Hall within weeks of Duane’s death. To say it was a drag would be an understatement).
Their next release was a partially live double album called Eat a Peach. Some thought it was named this because Duane had collided with a peach truck. Not so. In an interview, Duane had said, “And every time I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace.”
Gregg’s song “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,” was written in memory of his brother. Dickey – who to my knowledge had not previously played slide with the band – does a nice job here:
And just over one year later, bassist Berry Oakley was killed in a motorcycle accident as well. By all accounts he had never been the same since Duane’s death. Duane was the leader and he looked up to him as did the entire band. (Berry and Duane pictured above). Berry was a gifted bassist who – like Jack Bruce – treated the bass almost like a lead instrument but never lost sight of the fact he had to be in sync with two drummers.
So given all these radical, wholly unexpected changes there was every reason to expect the band would fold. But they didn’t. In fact their greatest triumphs lay ahead. With Duane’s death, the band become somewhat less – though by no means entirely – blues and leaned more in Dickey’s country direction.
I mentioned in the previous post that the Allmans had closed the Fillmore. “One Way Out” from Eat a Peach was recorded that night and has some great slide/lead interplay by Duane and Dickey:
Dickey wrote “Blue Sky” for his girlfriend, a Native American woman, Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig. It is one of the last songs recorded by Duane and shows the strong country influence that was seeping into the band. Joan Baez actually covered this song which is odd since there’s only a couple of verses and it is 90% guitar solos. Anyway, great song and one for which I am trying to learn Duane’s solo. See me next year:
Lastly, enjoy the only song Duane Allman ever wrote, a tasty guitar instrumental called “Little Martha.” No less a personage than Leo Kottke, guitarist extraordinaire, called it “the most perfect guitar song ever written.” The Allmans used to play the recording after the last encore while the audience was filing out.
Next – How do you replace Duane, not to mention Berry?; disarray in the band, “Brothers and Sisters” – and an uncertain future.